Jin-hyeok opens a cake shop in an old antique shop, hiring Seun-woo, Korea’s best pastry chef, who fell in love with him in high school. Also there, are Soo-young, crushing on Seun-woo, ex-boxer Gi-beom, and Seun-woo’s French ex-boyfriend. Like a multi-layered cake, as new members are added to the new Antique Bakery family, layers are gradually peeled off, and we learn that each of these members have a darker past to them that makes them who they are, where they are, and how they interact and the choices they make. The boss Jin-hyuk takes the cake when his final intention is revealed later on in the movie. It may seem like a movie based on gays, but give it about 8-10 minutes and you will start to see that is not the the movie’s focus.It’s a story about the lives of the owner and the 3 people who work for him.
Yup, Antique bakery has been adapted into a Japanese TV series (the gay aspect was completely cut off), Japanese anime series (poorly directed mess), and a Chinese/Taiwan TV series. While they gave the four characters interesting back stories, their motivations were still often random and unexplained. The lead character is a rich kid who decides to open a patisserie to meet girls. Why would you open a cake shop if you hate cake? That’s just one of the mysteries in this twisting K-flick by Min Gyu-Dong. He is determinedly straight but gives in a lot to his flaming chef (though resisting his advances). This is not your typical yaoi and it has a lot of funny scenes.
I find that it is impossible to not like these characters. For there is no true villian, or antagonist in the show. People all have their secrets, and it takes different shapes and sizes. Some have their grief, some have their sorrows. Cakes in this instance are symbolized as the essence of happiness. Contrary to belief, it’s not the blissful who eat them, but those who are in need of healing. And although the building of the bakery is fun to watch with it’s creative editing with it’s bright and colorful cinematography and all, when it came to the thriller it really did fall into the cheesy territory and not very intriguing. I’ve always thought that South Korea tended to be mum about homosexuality in a sweep-it-under-the-carpet kind of way, but in this movie, it’s a non-issue—as it should be. I’m hoping it’s not just an idealized portrayal of homosexuality in Korea, but rather (or at the least), a reflection of the current generation’s view on the matter.
I know one of the guys from Coffee Prince, which is one of my favorite dramas! I adore that guy, which made this movie a plus for me. He did so good in it, and so did the rest of the cast. If you are up for some comedy and drama then you’ll probably enjoy it. The lovable cast of characters are all unique individuals and yet manage to mesh together rather nicely. Beyond the movie’s gay arc, however is a larger theme about a man coming into terms with a childhood trauma. Rush out to see this gem of a film.